Moms who take their children and move away from their children’s fathers create life-long hardship for their children. Granted there are rare exceptions when a move may be warranted. But they far rarer than NOWers admit. Generally, move-away-moms move primarily for their own best interest and not their children’s. Children who lose their biological fathers for no reason other than maternal malice, greed or other child-negating interests are children who are put at a life long disadvantage in every area from self esteem to academic success. The simple fact is, physically present biological fathers will have a vastly more significant positive influence on their children than any non-related boyfriends or step fathers will. Children who are robbed of their biological fathers are children more often at risk.
Pennsylvania law, in August 2000, recognized this and now gives the children of our commonwealth at least a fighting chance to prevent a malicious mother from robbing them of their father’s presence with an unnecessary move away. The law was decided in the Gruber case where the court recognized for the first time that the monetary best interest of the mother is not identical to the best interest of the child. Now in Pennsylvania, in theory at least, a mother cannot simply pick up the children and move off to Kansas with her rich new boyfriend while harming her children in the process.
Despite this good news, there is an insidious backlash movement brewing. PCNC’s Ann Devlin aired a segment last night, 7/29/05 on the hardship women face when they cannot move away at will. We were even told children’s need for access to their father was merely archaic Pennsylvanian “provincialism.” This resurging move-away ideology has also been supported by judges like Kim Eaton of Allegheny County Pennsylvania, who recently ignored the Gruber test and decided a wealthy step father who’d only known the child for a short time was more important to the child than the child’s biological father who had been a daily presence in the child’s life for nearly ten years. Happily Eaton’s decision was overturned on appeal, and that child now lives with his biological father. But no doubt neither Judge Eaton nor others will desist in their attempts to choose maternal greed over good parenting. What makes this particularly frightening is that the move to embrace economics over inalienable rights seems to be a national trend in other areas as well; we merely need to remember Justice Souter’s Supreme Court decision that turned eminent domain into imminent domain in Connecticut.